MANILA, Philippines -- The upcoming conference of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) will offer a new challenge for local clubs as they will face off against two foreign teams.
The PVL Invitational Conference will open on July 9 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan, with seven local clubs participating in the elimination round.
The top four teams will advance to the semis, where they will be joined by Kobe Shinwa Women's University and KingWhale Taipei.
"We foresee that this will be an exciting conference," PVL President Ricky Palou said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, Tuesday at the Century Park Hotel.
Set to compete are PVL Open Conference champions Creamline, along with runners-up PetroGazz and third-placer Cignal HD. Completing the cast of local clubs are Chery Tiggo, Choco Mucho, Army Black Mamba, and PLDT.
F2 Logistics and BaliPure will skip the Invitational due to injuries, according to tournament director Tony Boy Liao.
The teams are in the midst of preparations for the conference as they brace for the opportunity to test themselves against the foreign teams.
"The team from Taiwan is a club team, a strong team. They're one of the better club teams in Taiwan," said Palou of the KingWhale squad.
Kobe Shinwa, meanwhile, is composed of collegiate players, but Palou warns that the PVL teams cannot underestimate them.
"We should not take them for granted, because they're one of the top collegiate teams in Japan. They're going to be a team to reckon with," he said.
Kobe Shinwa previously participated in the Philippine Superliga as a guest team in 2017.
The bulk of the games will be held at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan, with Army and Cignal kicking off hostilities on July 9 at 2:30 p.m. That game will be followed by the showdown between Chery Tiggo and Choco Mucho at 5:30 p.m.
On July 23, it will be the battle between sister teams Choco Mucho and Creamline, with the game to be played at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The semifinals -- which will be a round-robin affair between the top four local teams and the two foreign squads -- are also expected to be held at the MOA Arena.
The top two teams after the round robin will figure in a one-game final for the championship, with the third and fourth teams battling for bronze.